Theologians pan “cheap grace”

November 22, 2017

Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Matthew 26:27

Who are we? We are the crucified Christ-with us. This is our new identification.
Kosuke Koyama in Water Buffalo Theology

Koyama a Japanese Protestant theologian born in Tokyo in 1929 was sent to evangelize farmers in Thailand. Here he developed his unique brand of speaking to farmers.

 

One of his memorable designations of Jesus was very Pauline. He called Jesus “the spat-upon Christ.” Koyama reasoned that If Jesus Christ was nocked, spat upon and stripped, then his finality is shocked, spat upon and stripped . . . The spat-upon. Jesus nears the spat-upon finality of Jesus. It must mean then the. “spat-upon bishops’, ‘spat-upon theology’, ‘spat-upon evangeism’, ‘spat-upon “combat-against-racism”, “spat-upon churches’
We see very few “spat upon churches” these days, very few Christians who will risk the opprobium of the public  lulled to sleep with the silent and deadly song of the consumer culture.

 

Bourgeois Christianity is most evident but not exclusive to evangelical Christianity where Trump and his Wall street values reigned supreme. This sad fact reflects a faith riven by the cultural norms not of the nonviolent spat-upon Jesus but by a kind of Republican Fox News Christianity. The classic example is not evangelical but the shameful value system of “Catholic” Paul Ryan the Republican leader who genuflects not to a crucified lord  and his cross but to the highly individual capitalist ethos of Ayn Rand.

JC

 

Since the 1945 and the advance of turbocapitalism in the USA, Christianity in all denominations has taken a major hit. The power of the market has sapped the vital countercultural elements of the gospel. The good life has levelled the God life and allowed putative Christians to pursue consumer comforts and vote in whomever will defend “the American way of life’ and ignore the victims of a rapacious economic system.

 

300 hundred Christian theologians attending the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature, an annual meeting of nearly 10,000 professionals in religion.The Boston Declaration calls Christians to follow the Jesus Way, bearing prophetic witness to Christ through fight racism, sexism, poverty and all forms of oppression.”

 

BON

Theologian Susan Thistlethwaite of the Chicago Theological Seminary one of the signers t writes about the dispensation of “cheap grace” a phrase made fanmous by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the martyred Lutheran theologian. This is regularly doled out in capitalist countries by clergy too afraid to challenge wealthy congregants with the demands of the cross which cost Jesus his life and should cost us at least some discomfort.

 

Such Christians are “losers” in Trump language.

 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German Christian pastor who was arrested and ultimately executed by the Nazis for his opposition to Hitler, contrasted what he called “cheap grace” with the costly grace of the Gospel. “Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheapjacks’ wares. The sacraments, the forgiveness of sin, and the consolations of religion are thrown away at cut prices. Grace is represented as the Church’s inexhaustible treasury, from which she showers blessings with generous hands, without asking questions or fixing limits.”
The Christianity Bonhoeffer denounced is the Christianity we denounce today. It is a Christianity that literally enables hate, hate for people of color, for immigrants, for those of other religions, for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender human beings, for women and girls, for the poor and the most vulnerable among us.

Cost
And why do these so-called Christians do this? Not out of obedience to the teachings of Jesus, because Jesus taught the exact opposite of their hate-mongering. No, they do it for power, for political gain. Jesus asks, “What does it profit you to gain the whole world and lose your soul?” Mark 8:36 We are not here merely to denounce, however. The most important thing we can do as Christian theologians is announce the good news of the Gospel. The good news is the radical inclusivity of God, for God so loved the world. Not just some in the world who are white, or rich, or male or heterosexual. God loved the whole world of animals and plants and the entire ecosystem that is a victim of this same rapaciousness and nearly mindless drive for political domination.
The good news, and it is very good news, is an invitation to turn away from greed and turn toward love of neighbor. Turn away from hate and turn towards love. It’s actually more fun here in the circles of radical hospitality.

 

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Occupation of the American Mind

November 21, 2017

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Listen to American parrots buying Israeli propaganda, handed to them
What would you do?

Well ,the first thibg Charlie Rose would do woud be to never book the makers of this important film.

The first thing I’d do is understand the context which is
A beleaguered people penned in on all sides with no army,navy or air force feebly resisting a nuclear armed occupier with merkava tanks,F 16’s, Apache helicopters murdering mostly civilians much like shooting ducks in a barrel.
In Operation Protective Edge of Aug. 2014 467 children were killed, 3000 wounded, 1500 orphaned, and 25 schools destroyed.
Gazans fight back with what Norman Finkelstein calls “firecrackers’, pathetic rockets with imprecise direction: 6 Israelis killed

 

The SUT JHALLY: Israel can saturate the media with its spokespeople, but there’s still the problem of massive Palestinian casualties showing up on television screens. You can’t make those images go away. An Israeli official actually said, “In the war of pictures, we lose. So you need to correct, explain or balance it in other ways.”
Here, again, the Luntz document spells out which talking points have been most effective in spinning the brutal reality of Palestinian casualties. He says the first thing the pro-Israeli spokespeople should do is to express empathy for the innocent victims.

 
DAN GILLERMAN: Unfortunately, innocents do get hurt. And we—we really grieve that.
PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: We’re sad for every civilian casualty.
MICHAEL OREN: The entire situation is tragic.
SUT JHALLY: Once you’ve done that, Luntz says, you also have to get people to empathize with Israelis, by describing what life is like for them living in constant fear of Hamas rocket attacks. So, again and again, we hear the focus-tested phrase that the rockets are raining down on Israel.
MICHAEL OREN: We have thousands of rockets raining down on our civilians.
HILLARY CLINTON: Rockets were raining down on Israel.

 
NORMAN SOLOMON: Any advertising executive will tell you the essence of propaganda is repetition.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN: Rockets raining down on southern Israel.
FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Rockets raining down on Israel. NEWS ANCHOR: Well, Hamas rockets rained down on Israeli border towns.
SUT JHALLY: Then, Luntz tells PR spokespeople to turn the tables and ask the American people, “What would you do?”

 
PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: So what would you do in the United States?
RON DERMER: Will you imagine what America would do if it were facing a similar threat?
NACHMAN SHAI: We always try to ask you the question we ask ourselves: What will you do?
PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: What would you do?
MARK REGEV: What would you do, if more than 3,000 rockets had been fired on your cities?
SEAN HANNITY: What would you do? Three thousand rockets.

 
YOUSEF MUNAYYER: What sort of question is this? Of course, anybody would act to defend themselves against unprovoked aggression. But it is a question that is completely devoid of any context. What drives a society to a point where, after multiple devastating wars, they continue to resist with these most feeble methods? They don’t want you to ask that question. They don’t want you to ask what is behind this, what’s the history here, who are these people, where did they come from, why are they so desperate. No, they want you to understand Israeli behavior. Israeli behavior is always characterized as a reaction to unprovoked violence.

 

A very arrogant man: Henry Kissinger

November 20, 2017

Kiss

Matt Behrens is one of the most principled and committed social justice advocate I have been blessed to know. Here he takes no prisoners reflecting on one of the most cynical people ever to hold  office in the USA, Henry Kissinger

 

My favourite? story about this crass servant of the US empire was told by Seymour Hersh in his 1983 book  The Price of Power

 

In June of  1969, Kissinger met  Gabriel Valdes, foreign minister in Chile’s Christian Democratic government which the USA would bring to its knees with the support of the Chilean strongman Augusto Pinochet. Valdes had caused a stir at a White House meeting of Latin American foreign ministers by complaining about the difficulty of dealing with the United States. President Nixon, present at the session, was irritated. The next day Kissinger confronted Valdes at a private lunch which Hersh describes: The meeting was unpleasant. As Valdes describes it, Kissinger began by declaring, “Mr. Minister, you made a strange speech. You come here speaking of Latin America, but this is not important. Nothing important can come from the South. History has never been produced in the South. The axis of history starts in Moscow, goes to Bonn, crosses over to Washington, and then goes to Tokyo. What happens in the South is of no importance. You’re wasting your time.”

 

“I said,” Valdes recalls, “Mr. Kissinger, you know nothing of the South.” “No,” Kissinger answered, “and I don’t care.” At that point, Valdes, astonished and insulted, told Kissinger: “You are a German Wagnerian. You are a very arrogant man.”

 

man

Reflection on the death of Charles Manson  and other mass killers

By Matthew Behrens

As the world reflects on the death of killer Charles Manson, I cannot help but think of how his grisly orchestration of killings in LA at the end of the 60s sparks a (very much justified) rage that is rarely shared for the true mass killers of the age: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, on whose hands was the blood of millions. As Charles Chaplin’s character says in the brilliant Monsieur Verdoux, “One murder makes a villain…millions a hero. Numbers sanctify.”

VER

Chaplin’s character, when facing the death sentence, goes on: “To be shocked by the nature of my crime is nothing but a pretence… a sham! You wallow in murder… you legalize it… you adorn it with gold braid! You celebrate it and parade it! Killing is the enterprise by which your system prospers, upon which your industry thrives!…As for being a mass killer, does not the world encourage it? Is it not building weapons of destruction for the sole purpose of mass killing? Has it not blown unsuspecting women and little children to pieces, and done it very scientifically? As a mass killer, I am an amateur by comparison.”

 

For Manson, there is a special place in Hell reserved for you, one run by your former Presidents, War Secretaries, and Secretaries of State. When Kissinger eventually arrives down there with his Nobel Peace Prize and his fawning obituaries assessing his “controversial” legacy, I am sure you will have much to talk about.

Israel: “the quiet indifferent majority”

November 17, 2017

I began to write about the occupation almost by chance, after many years during which, like all Israelis, I had been brainwashed, convinced of the justice of our cause, certain that we were David and they Goliath, knowing that Arabs don’t love their children the way we do (if at all) and that they, in contrast to us, were born to kill.

 

END

 

So writes the Sabra truth-teller, the conscience of israel, Gideon Levy ruminating about his 30 years covering the occupation, Most Canadian rabbis know of what Levy speaks but prefer to mute  their prophetic gene. It is simply too painful for them.They are caught between the Scylla of Torah demands of pursuing justice (tzedek, tzedek tirdof Deut.16:20) and the Charybdis of older wealthier congregants who have romanticized Israel as a fundamental religious identifier and who support synagogue programs. Best leave the topic of Israel aside. It has become the third rail of synagogue life.

 

Levy

 

One should have some sympathy for these rabbis, good pastoral people who answer to board. Who among us would become Amos or Jeremiah?

 

The majority of Israelis don’t want to know anything about the occupation. Few of them have any conception of what it is. They’ve never been there. We have no idea what’s meant when we say “occupation.” We have no idea how we would behave if we were under its regime. Maybe if Israelis had more information some of them would be shocked.

See

Only a minority of Israelis are happy about the existence of the occupation, but the majority aren’t perturbed by it in the least. There are people who ensure that things will remain as they are. There are those who protect the quiet, indifferent majority and allow them to feel good about themselves – untroubled by doubts or moral qualms, convinced that their army – and country – are the most moral in the world, believing that the whole world is only out to annihilate Israel. Even when in our backyard, so close to our own home, darkness hovers, under whose cover, all those horrors are perpetrated day and night – we’re still so beautiful, in our own eyes.

 

 

For not a day or a night goes by without crimes being committed just a short distance from Israeli homes. There’s not a day without them, there’s no such thing as a quiet night. And we haven’t yet said anything about the occupation as such, which is criminal by definition. It has undergone transmutations over the years, been less onerous and more onerous at times, but it has always remained an occupation. And it has always left Israelis unmoved.

 

 

To cover up its crimes, the occupation has needed a propaganda-driven media that betrays its honest mission, an education system that has been recruited for its purposes, a duplicitous security establishment, politicians lacking a conscience and a civil society that doesn’t have a clue. A new, occupation-adjusted system of values had to be developed in which the cult of security allows, justifies and whitewashes everything, in which messianism becomes valued by the secular population, too, a sense of victimization functions as a cover-up, and a feeling of “Thou hast chosen us” doesn’t hurt, either.

Qyiet

 

It was also necessary to come up with a language of newspeak, the language of the occupier. According to this newspeak, for example, arrest without trial is called “administrative detention” and the military government is known as the “Civil Administration.” In the occupier’s language, every child with a pair of scissors is a “terrorist,” every individual detained by the security forces is a “murderer,” and every desperate person who tries to provide for his family at any price is “illegally present” in Israel. Hence the creation of a language and a way of life in which every Palestinian is a suspicious object.

Obama: no guts on Israel

November 15, 2017

President Obama promised to treat Palestinians fairly in Cairo in 2009 and did not follow through at all. He failed to pressure Israel, instead increasing aid. When will U.S. establishment voices begin to echo this truth?

Khalidi
This was the question of a man who in Obama’s Chicago days often dined with the ex-president. That man is Rashid Khalidi who later became the Edward Said professor of Arab studies at Columbia University and the author of Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East.

The American-sponsored peace process, which began in 1991 after the Gulf War, is all process and no peace. It is a charade. It is pretence. It is worse than a charade because the peace process gives Israel the cover it needs to pursue its aggressive colonial project on the West Bank.
In Jan 2017 President Obama warned that the expansion of Israeli settlements was making a two-state solution impossible. “I don’t see how this issue gets resolved in a way that maintains Israel as both Jewish and a democracy,” Obama said, “because if you do not have two states, then, in some form or fashion, you are extending an occupation. Functionally, you end up having one state in which millions of people are disenfranchised and operate as second-class occupant—or residents. You can’t even call them ‘citizens’ necessarily.”

But Obama never acted.Such was the power of the Israel lobby and AIPAC in the USA. Also one of Obama’s big donors was the powerful Crown family of Chicago.
The tragedy was Obama knew better.
Khalidi on Democracy Now in mid-January 2017
Well, he did what he’s been doing for eight years: He sent a signal. The most powerful country on Earth, the sole serious supporter of Israel, without whose support Israel couldn’t do anything, has now, yet again, for administration after administration, sent a signal that what Israeli governments have been doing for decades is going to lead to a one-state solution, in which Palestinians, as he said, are disenfranchised, are not even citizens and so on and so forth. So we have the diagnostician-in-chief telling us about this problem, which he and previous presidents have absolutely—done absolutely nothing to solve. The United States can, could, should act to stop this ongoing annexation, colonization and so forth, which has led to disenfranchisement. his analysis is impeccable, but his actions are just not in keeping with his words, and have not been over eight years in keeping with his words.

Khalidi summed up the sad performance of American presidents:

I think every American president who has stood by idly and just uttered words, like the president has done in his press conference and like the secretary of state did in his speech, and did nothing to actually stop this trend, that he so accurately described, are—they’re all responsible. He is certainly responsible. Had Security Council Resolution 2334 been passed in the first year of this president’s eight years, who knows what might have happened?

With Trump as president? Well, I think that this is a—this should be a wake-up call for people in the United States who had some kind of idea of Israel as the light unto the nations, to wake up and realize that the United States has helped to create a situation in which Israeli Jews rule over disenfranchised Arabs, that this is not a light unto the nations. This is not really a democracy, if you have helots. He called them “not citizens.” Well, you can call them what you want. He said they’re disenfranchised. It’s actually worse than that. Go to the Occupied Territories. Go to Arab communities inside Israel.

Jim Crows

Look at what happened to a member of Knesset yesterday, shot in the face by Israeli border police, because he protested the demolition of a village in the south of Israel. You’re talking about people who, in some cases, nominally have rights—Palestinian citizens of the state of Israel—or in the Occupied Territories having really no rights, and both of whom live under an unjust and discriminatory regime. We have fostered that. We have helped to finance and fund that, all the while our political leaders talk about how wonderful Israel is, how its values and our values—well, these are Jim Crow values

 

I Was Once a Basketball Coach pt.2

November 13, 2017

COVERThe Season

The book The Season I  dedicated to the small community that nourished the team. The community was Mimico. The team was called the Marauders. I watched it all build in the meals we shared and the community we created. I was a 27-year-old teacher, and despite my aversion to the title, they called me “coach.”

Below is an excerpt from The Season

 

Intuitively as part of my DNA, “breaking bread” was very important. The idea certainly hints at scripture where meals were key in the ministry of Jesus. While there were no “last suppers” with players there were many suppers in restaurants like George’s and in private homes.these were sacramental occasions.

 

Commensality, that is eating and drinking at the same table, is a radical notion. Anthropologists I imagine probably had a field day with this idea – as well as sociologists. But let’s simplify this.

 

Tavola

 

Something special is transpiring. In the hierarchical world of education in those years, teachers never ate with students.To me, this supposedly radical idea shattered boundaries, broke down barriers, redefined who was in and who was out. This commensality I guess was a secular liturgy.

 

comm

 

I never used ‘religious” language with players or students but I deeply believed what was happening had some transcendent meaning which could not be measured, described or even spoken about.

 

So what did this have to do with coaching?

 

The answer is nothing and everything.

 

As said before my essential self-definition was as a teacher, one with a deep calling which took me way beyond the classroom.

 

Mirabile dictu (amazing in the telling) here we are 50 years later sharing an agape, a love feast, 50 years after our unforgettable season. We were but 7 players whom I ran into shape.

MM 1967

A MHS agape at VIBO November 9, 2017

Art Rutledge, Gary Balogh, Ted, Don Crocker, Larry Trafford. Missing Peter Knopfler living in Mexico, Ernie Kocuper flying in next week from in Roberts Creek,B.C. and triste dictu, John Smith now playing in a higher league

We launch our book November 25 in the same small gym where we unleashed our full court presses with such devastating effect.

Anybody wishing a copy of the book

http://www.thebookband.com/bookshop/history/the-season-when-the-1967-mimico-marauders-dominated-toronto-high-school-basketball

$15.00

 

I Was Once a Basketball Coach pt.1

November 11, 2017

Marauders

The Marauders, a name from an imperial past, not one to cherish or embrace.
But that’s what they called our team. I had no say in the matter but i did have a say in what I tried to teach, even in my early life as a teacher.
50 years have gone by but the memories remain and the relationships too.

 

Straight Outta
We were an unbeatable team and as I always said I was the guy at the end of the 7 man bench but I was also the guy who broke bread and shared my life and passion with them. I knew at the time i woud never have a team like this but it never fazed me as every team has its wonders and joys, the young people whom you meet on the holy ground of a hardwood floor.
“Don’t call me coach” I would often say. I was a teacher. Coach always carried too much American baggage. Winning was the only thing. Not even close.
I learned from the masters of my youth, common good men, war vets, priests, playground trainers and a non-pareil, boys club coach.

 

carmenbush

Carmen Bush
I was given the gift of the pearl beyond price, the player is more important than the game. I ignored what Pascal called “the twin imposters success and failure.”Efficiency, technique, drill, new plays, scouting, coaching manuals. All this was mere prose to me. I was interested in poetry and the mystery of the human person. Most coaches it appeared to me had the words while I was interested in the music.

 

How sweet the sound of this music  over the decades.It compelled me to play it forward.My bread was cast upon the water and came back to me again and again as i tilled the sacred soil of teenage lives.and i actually got paid for this.

 

So as we came to our 50th anniversary I wrote a book about it.

COVERThe Season

Gaza is dying; the rabbis are silent

November 9, 2017

 

Levy 30

Gideon Levy once again dons the prophetic mantle and holds the shocking mirror up to Israeli society and in some ways to American Jewry and the co-opted U.S.Congress and Senate. The header to his article in Haaretz succinctly sums up this staggering tragedy.
Dystopia in the Gaza Strip

Gaza kids live in hell: A psychologist tells of rampant sexual abuse, drugs and despair The interview with Israeli psychologist Mohammed Mansour is one of the most shocking, terrifying and upsetting documents to be published here recently. If Israel were a moral society and not nationalist and brainwashed, its foundations would be shaking. This should have been the topic of the day, the tempest of the day. A human catastrophe is taking place just an hour away; a humanitarian disaster, a horror for which Israel bears the brunt of the blame — and Israel is occupied by the sexual assault allegations against TV executive Alex Gilady.

 

Mansour returned from a visit to the Gaza Strip as a volunteer with Physicians for Human Rights — Israel. He is an expert in treating trauma, and no one could remain unmoved by his observations from his two most recent visits. Right or left, it doesn’t matter, anyone with an iota of humanity would be shocked. Over one-third of the children he met in the Jabalya refugee camp reported being sexually abused. Their parents, caught in a war for survival and themselves suffering from depression, are incapable of protecting them. In Gaza, it is impossible to remove the children and their parents from their sources of trauma because the trauma does not and will not end; adults and children live in terrible pain. No one is mentally healthy in Gaza.

 

Car

Chaos, that’s the word. Mansour describes dystopia, a society that is falling apart. Devastation. Gazans demonstrate astonishing endurance, spirit and solidarity in their families, villages, neighborhoods and camps, after all the plagues they have suffered: refugees, children of refugees, grandchildren of refugees and great-grandchildren of refugees, are falling apart. Mansour described an all-out struggle for survival, with addiction to painkillers as the last refuge. Nothing is left of the Gaza we knew. Nothing reminds us of the Gaza that we loved. “It will be difficult to restore Gaza’s humanity. Gaza is hell,” says Mansour.

 

The descriptions given by Mansour, as harsh as they are, should not surprise anyone. Everything is being conducted according to the book, the greatest book of experiments on human beings. This is the only possible outcome of the imprisonment of two million people in an enormous cage for over 10 years, without any way out and without any hope.

 

The blockade of the Gaza Strip is the biggest war crime Israel has ever committed. This is the second Nakba, even more horrifying than its predecessor. This time Israel does not have the excuses of war and the Arabs fleeing. Even the excessive security excuses can no longer convince anyone, except for the Israelis who are incited against Gaza. Only they have no moral problem with the existence of a human cage on their border. Only they have a thousand excuses and accusations against the entire world, some false, such as the claim that Hamas rose to power through the use of force; or that the Qassam rockets began after Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from the Gaza Strip — anything to silence the already always-quiet conscience — after all, these are Arabs.

 

DIET
“These are Arabs” sums it up. Yes these are the new untermenschen,the latest subhuman, inferior human beings, absolutely devoid of any dignity.
The scandal of course is the sad silence of the American rabbinate which seems to have become frozen in a moral netherworld unable to move away from a tribalism which excludes “the other.”

Dinner With DiMaggio: fast food

November 7, 2017

dinner-with-dimaggio-9781501156847_lg

Dinner with DiMaggio is a book written about the relationship of a star struck Italian American doctor Rock Positano and Joe DiMaggio the great New York Yankee outfielder. Positano was 32 when he treated DiMaggio who was 40 years older. The relationship developed into a personal one and the highly secretive ball player allowed the acolyte to fete him all over New York.The book is a series of meals always paid for by the Doc.
Accompanying him to all sorts of events,” writes the author, “I saw a stunning array of famous, rich, powerful people who were in awe of him and wanted to get close to him. The intensity of their admiration surprised me.”

 

It shouldn’t have. America is a celebrity culture and reading this fawning book it shows us once again how supposed grown ups surrender their own dignity and moral agency to a sports hero like DiMaggio.

 

The book is cringe-inducing.

 

DiMaggio was a very limited man, a failure at marriage and parenting, he was noted for his bitter opinions about any Yankee who became more popular than him. A case in point was Mickey Mantle who arrived in New York as the media age exploded. The supremely gifted Mantle soon made people forget DiMaggio. Make no mistake the Yankee Clipper was a Hall of Fame player who could do everything well on the diamond but he was a deeply insecure person with jealous rants against a variety of people .Most notable in this category was fellow paysan Frank Sinatra whom he accused of pimping DiMaggio’s ex-wife (of 9 months) screen goddess Marilyn Monroe to the Kennedy brothers. He never reconciled with the Voice. He also had little time for Yankee Hall of Famer Derek Jeter.

 

The son of a Sicilian fisherman DiMaggio actually became a Republican who loved war criminal Henry Kissinger and George Bush (43) a real “stand up guy.’

 

Paul Simon famously wrote about Dimaggio in his song Mrs.Robinson ”where have you gone Joe DiMaggio,our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.”

 

The answer was a pedestal from which he became very isolated.From this rarified position he became a prisoner encased in a shallow life where nothing was demanded of him. he simply got used to “being godded up” as the great New York sportswriter Stanley Woodward accused younger writers of divinising athletes. But Joe demanded fealty which Positano and Joe’s craven lawyer Morris Engelberg happily gave him to the detriment of their families.

 

“Living easy is dangerous” famously said Friedrich Nietzsche.it corrodes a person’s soul and infantilizes him so that he never has to grow up. That was Joe DiMaggio.And what of the suckers who bowed before the golden idol? That should be the question that this book raises.

 

DiMaggio got a great kick out of snubbing Bill Clinton whom he despised.there were many others in this category. Joe did have a soft spot for kids recognizing his own neglect of his son Joe Jr.

 

Engelberg made DiMaggio very wealthy simply signing his autograph thousands of times. When he made personal appearances he had to be introduced as “the greatest living ball player.”

 

DiMaggio had a great appeal to Italian-Americans who in the 40s were low on society’s pecking order.In the post-Mussolini era, Joe became an Italian ikon, hence Francis Ford Coppola’s intro to this idolatrous book.

 

This is a sad story and it is only 3 pages from the end as Joe is nearing death that we get a blinding insight: ”Marilyn, Frank and me were all working class kids. No one taught us this fame and fortune racket. In our own way it wounded us all.”

 

Dinner with DiMaggio is a fast food meal with very little to nourish us.At best it is a warning about the perils of celebrity and the absolute necessity of of deepening our interior lives lest we fall for “the fame and fortune ,low-calorie racket.”

 

“This is not what Judaism is about.”

November 4, 2017

The blindness of the majority of American and British
Jews to the criminality of Israeli behaviour towards the
Palestinians, beggars belief and is an index of moral,
spiritual and intellectual decadence. This is the question:
When it comes to 68-year-long oppression of
Palestinians, why is the world so blind?

 

So wrote Mike Marqusee in his 2008 book If I Am Not for Myself: Journey of an Anti-Zionist Jew

 

That still is the question. Anybody who has seen first hand this daily brutalization of the indigenous people of Palestine would feel like Marqusee.Except of course for the pure tribalists whom you can never convince. These are “blind guides” who have never bothered to travel to Israel/palestine and whose sole argument is not based on facts but on an emotional identification.

 

They never listened to that Jewish philosopher Groucho Marx who asked,”Who do you believe, me or your eyes?”

 

This sad and desperate rump hectored Roger Waters the brave former frontman of the rock group Pink Floyd who recently appeared across Canada.

Waters

 

Matt Gindin of The Jewish Independent (Vancouver)    wrote   of Water’s talk in the St.Andrew’s Wesley United Church. Note Catholic parishes always shy away from this issue. Bravo to the United Church.

 

“I don’t get why people cannot look straight at what’s happening in the occupied territories and see it for what it is,” Roger Waters said.”There’s a word for what is happening there: ethnic cleansing.”

 
Among talk sponsors were IJV, CanPalNet, Seriously Free Speech, Not in Our Name, and Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights. Waters was interviewed by Martha Roth, co-chair of IJV Canada, and Itrath Syed, a professor at Langara College.
Many in the Jewish community were opposed to his speaking, accusing Waters of antisemitism and anti-Israel bias. B’nai Brith Canada made a documentary called Wish You Weren’t Here and followed him around Canada showing it in conjunction with his concerts. A week before the talk, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs sent out a mailing identifying Waters as “the rock musician obsessed with boycotting Israelis” who has become “the face of the hateful BDS movement.” An online petition called for the talk to be canceled.

 
At the church, Waters said his genesis as a BDS (boycott, divest from and sanction Israel) activist happened after a 2006 trip to Israel. “I was going to do a gig in Tel Aviv,” he said, “and I started to get emails from Palestinians and others who said that might not be such a good idea due to this very new movement started by Palestinian civil society called BDS, and they tried to prevail on me to cancel the gig. As an act of compromise, I moved the show to Neve Shalom, where they grow chickpeas and there are Jewish people living there, Arabs living there and Christians living there. All of their children go to school together, so it’s a lovely experiment in what can happen when people don’t fixate on all the things that we disapprove of in each other.”

 

Waters returned the next year for a tour of the territories with UNRWA and became a convert to BDS. “Since then, I’ve tried to open my big mouth as often as I can,” he said. “It’s been a long, quite trying, difficult road, not nearly as hard and trying, obviously, as living under occupation. The blackening of my name is just one more way of obscuring the truth. They want to stop the public discourse where people tell the truth about what happened in ’47-’48, what happened in ’67, in ’73, what’s happening now.”

 

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Waters praised young Jews opposing the occupation. He said, “If you look at polls now, you find that younger Jewish people are no longer looking at the situation and not seeing anything. They’re saying, ‘This is not what Judaism is about, this does not represent the way I feel, it goes against everything I believe in with my heart. I am a human being, I am humane, and I do not want my people or anyone who pretends to represent me to behave like this. It’s happening, and it lightens my heart every time I hear someone speak out. It’s great.”

 
Waters also discussed his communist mother’s tutelage of him as a social justice activist, his opposition to the Trump administration, capitalism and militarism, and the inspiration behind songs on his recent album Is This the Life We Really Want?
A small group of protesters met across the street from the church, draped in Israeli flags. One entered the talk and unfurled a banner reading, “Boycotts Don’t Scare Us – Am Yisrael Chai,” before being peacefully removed. A college-age Israeli protester held a sign saying, “Israeli Lives Matter” and told the Independent that what was going on inside was “just like Nazi Germany.”

 
IJV sent someone out to invite the protesters in afterward for dialogue. While they declined, one Jewish protester exchanged phone numbers with a Palestinian from Gaza who had approached the group, agreeing to meet later and talk.